St Monan’s Mosaics Project ‘Gets Hands Mucky’

by Heather Peebles

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

Tenants get 'hands mucky'. Tenants at the Abercrombie Court retirement home have been displaying their creative flair through an innovative new arts project in the seaside village of St. Monans.

After an initial consultation workshop designed to brainstorm ideas of activities for the tenants, it was decided that the group should embrace the annual St Monans Arts Festival by taking part in an arts themed venture.

Funding was successfully granted from Bield, one of Scotland’s leading providers of housing and care services, which allowed for a programme of three workshops with local artist, Pamie Bennett to take place.

Samantha Gillespie, Bield Tenancy Sustainment Officer (North), said: “Our vision at Bield is to provide our residents with opportunities to lead independent and fulfilling lives and this project is a fantastic example of that in action.

“Our residents were asked to draw images of what St. Monans meant to them which not only produced great drawings but also allowed them to reflect on their lives in the village which prompted some lovely anecdotes with everyone in the group enjoying the chance to reminisce.

“Once the drawings were finished, Pamie was able to use them to cut out templates for the mosaics and the residents showed great enthusiasm as they got to work on them, with one 88 year old resident even claiming she was delighted to get her ‘hands mucky’.

“The mosaics were completed with the help of local community members at a stall at the St Monans Arts Festival and it was great to see our residents sharing their stories about their lives in the village with younger generations as they explained the inspiration behind the artworks.

“The event was fantastic and allowed the public to inquire about the services Bield provide in an informal environment and some great partnerships were established with members of the local community.

“The project was a pilot scheme but its success truly exceeded our expectations and we hope that this is just the start of future projects like it.”

St Monans is situated in the East Neuk of Fife which is renowned for its arts culture and it’s hoped that the mosaics will celebrate this, as around ten of the art pieces are set to be installed at prominent points around the artisan village.

The mosaics encapsulate a sense of life in St Monan’s from images of sea creatures that can be found washed up on the sandy shores to depictions of the village’s landmarks, including the main Kirk, and it is thought that they will be enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.

Met with glowing feedback from the residents of Abercrombie Court, the highlights of the project as noted by the tenants included the therapeutic aspect of creating the mosaics, the interaction with other generations throughout the workshops, and involvement in the wider community at the Arts festival.

Bield operates a ‘Free to Be’ philosophy which lets people make their own choices about how they live their lives while being there to support them when they need it and it was in this spirit that the project was led.

A registered charity in their 41st year of business, Bield has grown from humble beginnings, opening its first housing development in Bo’ness to become a major supplier of a wide range of housing and services for around 20,000 older people across 22 local authorities.

Private: Heather Peebles

Based as a PR in Edinburgh, Heather Peebles is a highly-valued member of the team at Holyrood PR. Her work with the Scottish public relations consultancy sees her advising clients in healthcare, construction, renewables and logistics. As well as delivering numerous successful PR campaigns, she is also experienced in crisis PR and reputation management.

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